Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nathula in Sikkim gets early snow surprise

Gangtok,October20: An Ancient Silk Route (also spelt Ntula, Natu La, Nathu la, Natula) is a pass on the Indo-China border connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with South Tibet. The pass, located at an elevation of 4,310 m (14,200 feet) above mean sea level, forms part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Route. The route leading up to the pass is one of the world's highest navigable roads, and is maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, a wing of the Indian Army. On the Pass the Indian army and the Chinese border guards are within touching distance of each other. To visit the Indian side of Nathula, a visitor's permit must be made one day in advance, which is done by any travel agency
The pass is 56 kilometres east of the capital Gangtok. Although just 5 km north of the Jelepla pass, the Nathula pass is not navigable in winters as it receives heavy snowfall. Temperatures in Nathula regularly dip to -25 °C in winters. The pass is open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays,
The Friday brought in a pleasant surprise in the form of first seasonal snowfall of year 2007 to Nathula pass of Sikkim even as several parts of north Sikkim witnessed a sudden drop in temperature and cold wave conditions.
The higher reaches of Himalayan region of East district of Sikkim have been witnessing first snowfall and cold wave conditions that have slowly lowered the temperature and signalled the arrival of Wintry weather in Sikkim . It has been snowing near Nathula as well as the mercury hovered below freezing point.

Snowfall was reported also in several high altitude areas in various degrees on Friday bringing a moderate sharp chill in Gangtok and other areas. Light snowfall occurred in Dzongri, West Sikkim and Yumthang of north Sikkim and snowfall has been reported from Nathula valley and Changu lake. The tourists and people associated with tours & travel business felt excited about snowfall and prospects of it giving an enhanced tourism experience in Sikkim to visitors during this puja holidays.